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PW Field Trip to Founders

by | Posted October 11th, 2011

Thomas Gregovich also contributed to this story.

One of the strengths of the Professional Writing Program is its alumni. So many have gone on to do such interesting work. “While at Beer Rhetorics one night, Laura Julier was discussing the fact that PW students never get to see the alumni. I decided to take initiative and organize a field trip to go see alumna Sarah Aldrich,” said PW senior and Beer Rhetorics evangelist Ali White. Sarah Aldrich, currently the marketing coordinator at Founder’s Brewing Company, graduated from PW in May 2010.

It took Ali forever to find a date agreeable to all, but they finally settled on September 23rd, sign-up began, and as the date drew nearer, White approached Professor Danielle DeVoss about joining the field trip. She hopped right on board and offered to sponsor vans to take the students and faculty to Grand Rapids.

Founder’s Brewing Company is an award-winning craft brewery that began in the dreams of Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers. To accompish this dream, they quit their jobs and took out huge loans; a huge risk. After getting off to a shaky start, Engbers and Stevens decided to change up their strategy. Instead of brewing unremarkable beers that catered to all crowds, said Engbers, they decided to craft “complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics, bigger body, and tons of flavor,” says the Founders website. “[We] are brewing beer for a small cadre of renegades and rebels who enjoy a beer that pushes the limits.”

After arriving at downtown Grand Rapids, students and faculty met their tour leader and Founders creator, Dave Engvers. Along the tour, the group learned of the founding of the company, the brewing process, and the expansion of the brewery.

After the tour, they admired Sarah’s office, the really cool meeting room, and headed off to dinner in the taproom, courtesy of DeVoss, while enjoying delicious samples of beer. After dinner, some of the PWers headed into downtown Grand Rapids to check out ArtPrize, an annual art festival that hosts local artists.

“It was wonderful to tour the brewery and to see all of the art spread around the city. I can see why they call Grand Rapids the ‘shining star of Michigan’,” said resident mentor and TechSmith social media intern Ali White.

“As a senior, I was looking for a way to give back to the major beyond the supporting the established student groups,” said White. While at Beer Rhetorics one night, White decided to take on (another) title as PW Field Trip Coordinator and began organizing the first trip. This was about more than a field trip, though. “PW is a great program, but it only gives you the skills. We cannot expand our roles and knowledge without the help of others. We must rely on one another for networking and connections. We have the opportunity to be a powerful force in the information industry,” said White.

Although she has started work on the second PW field trip, Ali is looking for somebody to take over the position of PW Field Trip Coordinator after she graduates in December. If interested, contact Ali or Laura Julier for more details.

Telling the Story of Lansing’s Creative Class

by | Posted October 11th, 2011

Professional Writing major Clare Zammitt published this piece in Capital Gains, a commercial online magazine that covers “creative class” culture in the mid-Michigan region. This feature article tells the story of a scavenger hunt organized by a local attorney, in which participants compete to locate visually-intriguing landmarks in Lansing. Clare did field research, conducted interviews, and helped Capital Gains photographer Dave Trumpie arrange photo shoots.

The article fulfills Capital Gain’s mission to showcase Lansing as a vibrant city, full of interesting people doing interesting things.

Clare credits two PW courses in particular with helping her enter the world of paid freelance writing. “WRA 202 [Introduction to Professional Writing] taught me the importance of audience, and how to research a publication before I decide to write for them.” She also points to WRA 308 Invention in Writing, taught by PW associate professor Leonora Smith. “It helped me hone putting personality into my work, something that’s fun to do with feature writing.”

Clare went on to refine her feature writing in WRA 355 Writing for Publication, taught byJonathan Ritz, where each student develops, writes, and pitches a freelance feature article to Capital Gains.

See the full article.

Photo credits: Dave Trumpie

New Adviser for PW

by | Posted October 10th, 2011

Assistant professor and newly appointed PW adviser Jonathan Ritz

WRAC is pleased to announce that assistant professor Jonathan Ritz has been hired as the primary Professional Writing academic and professional adviser. Starting at the end of the fall 2011 semester, Ritz will begin meeting with the majority of new and incoming majors to discuss topics such as courses, internships, networking, and of course to help them map their progress toward the degree.

“When the opportunity arose to take on a larger role here, I jumped at it,” Ritz said of accepting the position. “There’s a really positive charge to this program, a great sense of forward momentum, and that’s the kind of place you want to be part of.”

That momentum is also why the additional advising position was initially created. The steady growth of the major (currently consisting of more than 150 students), and the one-on-one attention students receive for both academic and professional advising has contributed to the increased demand from students. Ritz believes his previous advising experience prepared him to carry out the new role with the commitment it requires, saying, “it’s demanding work but can be very rewarding.”

Fellow faculty member and Professional Writing professor Danielle DeVoss agrees, calling Ritz a “champion” of the program, and assures students that he will “continue to deliver on the promise of excellent advising” the major was built on. “I am absolutely thrilled.”

Along with his advising role, Ritz will continue to teach in the program. He has taught courses in the editing and publishing track for several years and teaches WRA 355 Publication Workshop during the summer as well.

Current Professional Writing students close to graduation will still be able to meet and receive aid from their existing adviser, but the goal is for Ritz to work with a majority of students regarding all of their academic and professional needs.

New Adviser for PW

by | Posted October 10th, 2011

Assistant professor and newly appointed PW adviser Jonathan Ritz

WRAC is pleased to announce that assistant professor Jonathan Ritz has been hired as the primary Professional Writing academic and professional adviser. Starting at the end of the fall 2011 semester, Ritz will begin meeting with the majority of new and incoming majors to discuss topics such as courses, internships, networking, and of course to help them map their progress toward the degree.

“When the opportunity arose to take on a larger role here, I jumped at it,” Ritz said of accepting the position. “There’s a really positive charge to this program, a great sense of forward momentum, and that’s the kind of place you want to be part of.”

That momentum is also why the additional advising position was initially created. The steady growth of the major (currently consisting of more than 150 students), and the one-on-one attention students receive for both academic and professional advising has contributed to the increased demand from students. Ritz believes his previous advising experience prepared him to carry out the new role with the commitment it requires, saying, “it’s demanding work but can be very rewarding.”

Fellow faculty member and Professional Writing professor Danielle DeVoss agrees, calling Ritz a “champion” of the program, and assures students that he will “continue to deliver on the promise of excellent advising” the major was built on. “I am absolutely thrilled.”

Along with his advising role, Ritz will continue to teach in the program. He has taught courses in the editing and publishing track for several years and teaches WRA 355 Publication Workshop during the summer as well.

Current Professional Writing students close to graduation will still be able to meet and receive aid from their existing adviser, but the goal is for Ritz to work with a majority of students regarding all of their academic and professional needs.

Going for It: Writers’ Bloc Reminds Students of the Importance of Internships

by | Posted October 8th, 2011

Brianne Ross & Polonius Photo by Kristel Klank

Writers’ Bloc kicked off the season, on October 7th, with an internship panel consisting of five PW seniors who were willing to talk and answer questions about their various internships.

Noelle Sciarini discussed her stint as a WRAC communications management intern, which provided her with the skills to get her next internship at Impression 5. Lauren Ebelt was able to intern with three different publishing companies in Dublin, Ireland, where she discovered the true enjoyment she gets from working at a publishing house.

Olivia Asiala currently interns at the RCAH Poetry Center and focuses on its communication strategy using the skills she gained from a previous internship. Ashley Haglund interned at Johnson Controls as a technical intern and was able to learn what she does and doesn’t like when it comes to a job environment. Mike Kulick currently works at Avalon International Breads in its sales division and is helping to better develop their online presence.

The bottom line? Internships help students network and create valuable experiences. The PW seniors’ best advice is to apply for any job that will provide the experience students need and that will help them decide what they are suited for in a future career.

Writers’ Bloc rounded off the afternoon with their kick-off party. Missed this exciting and informative networking event? Stay posted to catch the next one!

Going for It: Writers’ Bloc Reminds Students of the Importance of Internships

by | Posted October 8th, 2011

Brianne Ross & Polonius Photo by Kristel Klank

Writers’ Bloc kicked off the season, on October 7th, with an internship panel consisting of five PW seniors who were willing to talk and answer questions about their various internships.

Noelle Sciarini discussed her stint as a WRAC communications management intern, which provided her with the skills to get her next internship at Impression 5. Lauren Ebelt was able to intern with three different publishing companies in Dublin, Ireland, where she discovered the true enjoyment she gets from working at a publishing house.

Olivia Asiala currently interns at the RCAH Poetry Center and focuses on its communication strategy using the skills she gained from a previous internship. Ashley Haglund interned at Johnson Controls as a technical intern and was able to learn what she does and doesn’t like when it comes to a job environment. Mike Kulick currently works at Avalon International Breads in its sales division and is helping to better develop their online presence.

The bottom line? Internships help students network and create valuable experiences. The PW seniors’ best advice is to apply for any job that will provide the experience students need and that will help them decide what they are suited for in a future career.

Writers’ Bloc rounded off the afternoon with their kick-off party. Missed this exciting and informative networking event? Stay posted to catch the next one!

WRAC Faculty Profiles: Kate Fedewa, Carol Quinn, & Kathryn Houghton

by | Posted October 6th, 2011

Kate Fedewa

Photo by Kate Fedewa

MSU alumna and area-native Kate Fedewa said she “couldn’t wait to return home” to Michigan after finishing her education but certainly didn’t realize she would be returning to MSU classrooms as well.

Fedewa, who is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was hired by WRAC to instruct first-year writing, but it seems it was more than the comforts of home that drew her back. Fedewa’s deep love of teaching and the diversity of the MSU student body was what really spoke to her. “I love teaching, and it’s a lot of fun working with students here since they come from a variety of backgrounds,” she said. “I learn a lot from my students, and hopefully they learn a lot from me, too.”

Fedewa’s research focuses on the history of rhetoric and the development of English literacy in medieval England. She earned three bachelors degrees from MSU in 2007 and is looking to complete her dissertation by the year’s end.

 

Photo by Carol Quinn

Carol Quinn

Far from her Queens, New York, home, assistant professor Carol Quinn comes to MSU as a teacher and fiction writer.

Quinn was hired by WRAC in July to teach first-year writing and loves working with MSU students, saying: “They have a less preconceived idea of what to say and how to say it. They say what they feel, and I love that.”

Quinn holds an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a B.A. from New York University. She is currently teaching two sections of WRA 150 Evolution of American Thought. Before coming to MSU, Quinn taught at Temple University and wrote at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Quinn is also currently working on her first novel.

 

Kathryn Houghton

Photo by Kristel Klank

A 2008 Professional Writing alumna herself, newly hired assistant professor Kathryn Houghton says, “It’s nothing short of wonderful to once again be part of the MSU community.”

After receiving her M.F.A. in creative writing from Eastern Washington University in 2010, Houghton returned to Lansing to work for the Michigan Department of Education as a writing and editing contractor before signing on to teach first-year writing this semester, plus a course for the PW program next semester.

“I love the feeling of sharing knowledge and helping students see things in new and different ways,” Houghton says of teaching. She also loves the idea of giving back to the Professional Writing program, and seeing how it has grown: “There are so many cool new courses I wish I could take.”

In her spare time, Houghton is a fiction-writer (with a completed novel sitting in a drawer at home), is teaching herself French, and loves everything soccer. Her research focuses on gender studies, the craft of fiction, social media, and digital copyright.

WRAC Faculty Profiles: Kate Fedewa, Carol Quinn, & Kathryn Houghton

by | Posted October 6th, 2011

Kate Fedewa

Photo by Kate Fedewa

MSU alumna and area-native Kate Fedewa said she “couldn’t wait to return home” to Michigan after finishing her education but certainly didn’t realize she would be returning to MSU classrooms as well.

Fedewa, who is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was hired by WRAC to instruct first-year writing, but it seems it was more than the comforts of home that drew her back. Fedewa’s deep love of teaching and the diversity of the MSU student body was what really spoke to her. “I love teaching, and it’s a lot of fun working with students here since they come from a variety of backgrounds,” she said. “I learn a lot from my students, and hopefully they learn a lot from me, too.”

Fedewa’s research focuses on the history of rhetoric and the development of English literacy in medieval England. She earned three bachelors degrees from MSU in 2007 and is looking to complete her dissertation by the year’s end.

 

Photo by Carol Quinn

Carol Quinn

Far from her Queens, New York, home, assistant professor Carol Quinn comes to MSU as a teacher and fiction writer.

Quinn was hired by WRAC in July to teach first-year writing and loves working with MSU students, saying: “They have a less preconceived idea of what to say and how to say it. They say what they feel, and I love that.”

Quinn holds an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a B.A. from New York University. She is currently teaching two sections of WRA 150 Evolution of American Thought. Before coming to MSU, Quinn taught at Temple University and wrote at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Quinn is also currently working on her first novel.

 

Kathryn Houghton

Photo by Kristel Klank

A 2008 Professional Writing alumna herself, newly hired assistant professor Kathryn Houghton says, “It’s nothing short of wonderful to once again be part of the MSU community.”

After receiving her M.F.A. in creative writing from Eastern Washington University in 2010, Houghton returned to Lansing to work for the Michigan Department of Education as a writing and editing contractor before signing on to teach first-year writing this semester, plus a course for the PW program next semester.

“I love the feeling of sharing knowledge and helping students see things in new and different ways,” Houghton says of teaching. She also loves the idea of giving back to the Professional Writing program, and seeing how it has grown: “There are so many cool new courses I wish I could take.”

In her spare time, Houghton is a fiction-writer (with a completed novel sitting in a drawer at home), is teaching herself French, and loves everything soccer. Her research focuses on gender studies, the craft of fiction, social media, and digital copyright.